November 13, 2023 From Sea to Mountains (Day 47)

Sunrise on Tokomaru Bay.

We started out our day with a great breakfast and lattes delivered to us by our host! Made with fresh milk from the cows he milked this morning! We shared a great conversation sitting outside in the sunshine, then we packed up and continued down the east coast. The mid February cyclone Gabrielle severely impacted the whole east coast and cut the access between Tokomaru Bay and the town of Tolaga Bay, where we were heading, when forestry slash crashed into this bridge!

The bridge that was wiped out in the storm in Feb. with the temporary bridge to the right. It was a little scary on the bridge as it creaked and clacked as we drove over!

We reached Tolaga Bay and looked for the Tolaga Bay Wharf that it is famous for.

It’s a beautiful bay and a site of one of the first landings in 1769 by Captain Cook in New Zealand.

We found the wharf and the beautiful carved entrance way. Unfortunately the storm Gabrielle caused damage and the wharf is no longer safe to walk out on.

From the beach you can see the length of the wharf. It was a popular place to fish from.

Walking the beach to get underneath the wharf you can see the damage, and the beautiful green sea water!

Since we couldn’t walk the wharf we continued on our way, looking for a site to have our lunch. We brought along our gas grill to grill some venison sausage we picked up in Tokomaru Bay!

We found a free campsite on Opoutama Beach on the way to the small Mahia peninsula with a picnic table and a great view.

After our lunch we continued through Gisborne, the largest town in the region, and one steeped in history, both Maori and Pakeha. We will have to return some day to learn all that history, we still had 2 hours to our destination! At Wairoa we started heading inland towards Te Urewera, the largest most pristine rainforest on the North Island. “In 2014, a world-first law brought an end to government ownership of Te Urewera National Park and recognised the rainforest as its own legal entity and the TÅ«hoe people as its legal guardians. It also gave the forest the same legal rights as a person.” We will explore tomorrow. For tonight we will relax at our AirBnB overlooking the forest and a small lake, surrounded by an orchard.

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